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Troubles by J.G. Farrell


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Winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize.

An involving and interesting tale set in 1919 about a World War One veteran, Brendan Archer, who travels to Ireland to find the girl he rashly got engaged to three years earlier. When love appears to have been lost Brendan finds himself drawn in to the world of the Palm Court hotel just as Ireland faces it’s most dramatic political upheaval. A book of humour, pathos and politics. Totally absorbing and unputdownable.


Troubles by J.G. Farrell

Major Brendan Archer travels to Ireland - to the Majestic Hotel and to the fiancee he acquired on a rash afternoon's leave three years ago. Despite her many letters, the lady herself proves elusive, and the Major's engagement is short-lived. But he is unable to detach himself from the alluring discomforts of the crumbling hotel. Ensconced in the dim and shabby splendour of the Palm Court, surrounded by gently decaying old ladies and proliferating cats, the Major passes the summer. So hypnotic are the faded charms of the Majestic, the Major is almost unaware of the gathering storm. But this is Ireland in 1919 - and the struggle for independence is about to explode with brutal force.


Brought to mind by the recent and long overdue celebration of Farrell's life and works, and the recollection of his evocative opening paragraphs as they describe tumbled cast-iron baths, twisted bed frames and 'a prodigious number of basins and lavatory bowlslying in the ruins of a fire-gutted Irish hotel. And dotted here and there are 'a large number of tiny white skeletons' - eventually revealed to be bones of the hordes of cats that infested the Imperial Hotel in its final, delapidated decline. Farrell wrote the book when he was 35. Literary success meant that he could afford to move to a residence-of-choice, and he selected to live in West Cork - not far from my home - which, for me, shows he had a sympathetic geographical sense as well as marvellous gifts as an author. Review by Tim Severin, whose books include 'In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White Whale
(Kirkus UK)

About the Author

J.G. Farrell

J.G. Farrell was born in Liverpool in 1935 and spent a good deal of his life abroad, including periods in France and North America, and then settled in London where he wrote most of his novels. In April 1979 he went to live in County Cork where only four months later he was drowned in a fishing accident.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th August 1993


J.G. Farrell

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Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


480 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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